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North Carolina v. Wooten

Filed: February 2, 1982.

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
DENNIS WOOTEN



Appeal by defendant from Tillery, Judge. Judgments entered 17 March 1981 in Superior Court, Wayne County. Heard in the Court of Appeals on 12 January 1982.

Hedrick, Judge. Judges Hill and Becton concur.

Hedrick

Defendant first assigns error to the court's pretrial comments concerning the charges against him. The record shows that the trial court erroneously stated to the jury pool that the defendant was charged with the three drug counts because of events occurring on 25 September 1980. After members of the jury were selected and impaneled, the court corrected its error by the following statement:

I inadvertently used the wrong date when I was giving you my little synopsis of the case. The court now understands that the date that you are concerned with is the 12th of September. . . .

Just disregard what I said about the other date.

Defendant contends that the error "placed in the jurors [sic] minds a conjecture that the Defendant might be involved in other drug possessions or sales. . .," thus depriving defendant of a fair trial.

We reject defendant's contention. We can find absolutely nothing in the trial court's comments which amounted to more than an inadvertent and harmless lapsus linguae and an equally harmless attempt to correct it. Defendant's assignment of error is overruled.

The second of defendant's contentions is that the trial court committed eight separate errors in rulings on the admissibility of evidence. Defendant first took exception to testimony by which the S.B.I. agent showed his experience in other undercover campaigns. While we find the evidence to which defendant excepted to be irrelevant to his case, we nonetheless can see no error which was prejudicial to defendant. See 1 Stansbury's N.C. Evidence ยงยง 9, 80 (Brandis rev. 1973).

Defendant's second exception to the admission of evidence involved the following direct examination of Agent Bowden:

Q. What happened at that point?

A. Mr. Wooten told me ...


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